Two-Stage Surgical Procedure in Intra-articular Distal Tibiofibular Fractures with Soft Tissue Injury: in Which Stage Should the Fibular Plate be Applied at Initial Surgery?
Introduction: The selection of the stage where fibular plate was performed in two-stage surgery of the intra-articular distal tibiofibular fractures with soft tissue injury is still controversial. The aim of the study was to compare the complications, radiological and functional outcomes between the patients who had fibular plate at initial or second phase during surgical management of such fractures.
Materials and Methods: In this study, medical records of 47 patients who underwent a two-stage surgical procedure for intra-articular distal tibia fractures accompanying soft tissue injury were retrospectively examined. Delta frame was applied in all cases within 24 hours following admission to the emergency department in accordance with AO principles. Those cases where fibular plate was applied during the initial stage and the second stage were classified as Group 1 and Group 2 in order to compare recorded data between the two groups.
Results: According to the results of the study, there were 25 cases in Group 1 and 22 cases in Group 2 in which fibular plate was applied at the first stage and the second stage, respectively. The mean follow-up was found as 27.7±7.0 months in Group 1 and 28.2±6.2 months in Group 2 (p=0.778). No difference was found between the two groups in terms of the age, sex, hospital stay, the time between two surgical procedures, tibiofibular angle and AOFAS scoring (p>0.05).These two groups were also similar in mechanism of injury, Denise-Weber or AO classification, rates of tibiofibular malalignment on post-operative CT, fibular rotation, intra-articular tibial step-off, tibial varus-valgus duration of union, rate of infection, fibular angulation and the presence of the flap/graft/debridement (p>0.05).
Conclusion: In conclusion, two-stage surgical procedure in intra-articular distal tibiofibular fractures may be an effective method decreasing soft tissue complications. The timing of the open reduction and internal fixation of the fibula at different stages may not necessarily have an impact on the success of the post-operative tibial reduction, the total duration of surgery, syndesmosis malalignment or soft tissue complications.
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